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Criminal Justice 655

CRJU 655: Seminar in Civil Liberties and Criminal Law

Prerequisites: Graduate Standing

Credit Hours: (3)

An examination of constitutional civil liberties and their impact upon criminal law and field behavior.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

1. The Constitution and criminal justice

            a. The rule of law and discretionary power
            b. The principle of legality
            c. Historical trends and criminal justice compliance

2. Civil liberties and criminal justice behavior

            a. Arrest, search, and seizure

                            1) Foundation of the Fourth Amendment
                            2) Scope of protected privacy
                            3) General requirements of process

            b. Confessions
            c. The exclusionary rule

3. Judicial application and civil liberty

            a. Grand jury process
            b. Bail
            c. Pleas of guilty and plea bargaining
            d. Defense and prosecution behavior
            e. Policy development
            f. Case histories

4. Police application and civil liberty

            a. History of philosophical resistance
            b. Policy implementation
            c. Practice and policy
            d. Case histories

5. Corrections and civil liberty

            a. Application of civil liberties to the inmate
            b. Legal rights of prisoners

                            1) Historical development
                            2) Constitutional rights
                            3) Statutory rights and entitlements
                            4) Rights of the confined juvenile

            c. Case histories

6. Criminal law and the justice professional

            a. Historical perspectives
            b. Present behavior and perspective
            c. Future trends and projections


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will be taught as a seminar in which the students will assume an extensive role in the conducting of the course. Their active participation in the course will be solicited through such means as role play exercises (e.g., playing the role of a police officer facing a hypothetical problem), discussion of questions based on assigned readings, discussion of problems designed to illustrate issues raised in assigned readings, and maintaining a journal.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the end of this course, students should

1. Describe the role of the Constitution and the courts in constraining the behavior of criminal justice officials.
2. Describe the historical development of the rights of persons accused of crimes and of persons convicted of crimes.
3. Articulate and analyze alternative means of protecting rights.
4. Explain why many Supreme Court decisions affecting rights are controversial and have some insight into why the Courts decided these cases as they did.


Assessment Measures

Graded assignments may include the journal, essay examinations, written analyses of role playing exercises, written analyses of hypothetical cases, and book and article reviews. A grade may also be awarded for class participation.


Other Course Information

Guest speakers may be invited to speak in this course. Judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys would be particularly relevant speakers.


Review and Approval

Date Action Approved By
March 1999